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Summer plant Care- Growing Well Newsletter

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

Happy Solstice!! The longest days of the year – and the plants know it! We asked – and you answered! Thanks to all of you (over 45 took the time!) who responded to the Facebook poll (or emailed directly) on what kind of program- ing you’d like to see. You’ll see the outcome of that response at the end of this email with a list of programs for the next two months. Hopefully, everyone will find some- thing to interest them!

This week’s questions at the store focused on lawns (and their unwillingness to stay deep green), the arrival of insects and diseases of all kinds (a sure sign that the garden season is well underway) and the need to find out what’s in color this time of year. We’ll start with that last item first – we’re continuing to bring in fresh perennials – and some shrubs – that bloom in summer. One of the best ways to fill the missing links in your own gardens is to shop around for new plants when yourgarden looks a bit quiet. That way, you’ll find what’s actually in bloom when you need a gap filled. You can also use a book like Continuous Bloom by Pam Duthie. We have a copy of this in our library at the store so you can flip through it when you visit.

This is probably also a good place to mention that all of the plant material at the store is (and will be) well maintained. Even the pack flowers and veggies have been fertilized and fed a good foliar support (they’re on sale until gone - $4.00/pack – and they’re still worth it!). We’ve been careful with the fruit trees and bushes and roses as well. Those are the classic plants that need support after all! A lot of the perennials just don’t need that much care – absolutely love the whole crowd of them.

Now back to the first two questions...of course, individual challenges need to be addressed individually, but both of these topics center on the plant’s need for nutritional/energetic support, i.e. fertilizer!! But not JUST fertilizer – also the support of healthy leaves through foliar sprays. Most of you have heard of Neem oil, but the list of what can support healthy leaves is more than Neem... Look into a product called Revitalize that uses a specific bacterium to stimulate the plant’s immune system. Then there are all of the fish, kelp, humate products that can be used to both feed the plants directly and help to support good guy microbes on the leaves to out compete bad guy microbes. No matter what you decide to do – plan to spray any substances that can interfere with bees and other pollinators before dawn or at dusk to minimize the chances for harm.

To make some of this information more digestible, we’re going to start planting the garden strip out on the road this coming week so you will see changes as you drive by (or from inside the parking lot). This also means that we’ll have a garden to talk about and demonstrate with. There are lots of challenges for this gar- den – not the least is that it parallels 2A...but it will be fun to make the garden sing into life. Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, 2-4pm will be the times for that kind of information sharing. No need to sign up (not a formal workshop) and there’s no fee either – just work being done either on this garden or others that we have planned and the chance to see how this system of stabilizing your own personal piece of the ecosystem works as a practical exercise.

The other major topic that did come up at the store was weed control, but we’ll cover that in future news-’s too early in the season for real success with the aggressive plant thugs unless your hand weeding – that is ALWAYS successful! And – finally!! – here’s the list of upcoming programs. July’s dates and topics are locked, August’s topics are, but dates are fluid since speaker confirmations are needed for a couple of them.

7/1 Building a Raised Bed, 1-2:30pm: You have all seen the raised bed from Flickerhill Homestead ready and waiting for filling and planting – now we’ll get that done! We’ve been custom crafting a raised bed soil mix in the bulk yard and will use the mix to fill the bed. Extra soil from the project will be available for sale. You’ll learn how we developed the soil and you’ll get to see how well the plants respond every time you visit the side yard. This garden will become one of the teaching gardens mentioned above...$15.00/person - limit 15 7/8 Troubleshooting the Garden, 1-2:30pm: You’re back from July 4th vacation and problems have arrived (or are about to!). Now’s the time to get on top of whatever is going wrong. Bring your questions (and any leaves or insects – well contained!) and we’ll see what we can do. $15.00/person – limit 10 7/15 Growing and Using Herbs, 10-11:30am: Carrie Novak loves herbs and is growing over 15 varieties of basil alone! She’ll bring some of them with her as she walks us through the basics of working with herbs. Her catnip cat socks are a real hit with felines – her catnip has punch! $15.00/person – limit 10 7/22 Working with Foliar Sprays, 1-2:30pm: And here’s where the rubber really hits the road – or should I say leaf?? Foliar sprays can kill insects and diseases directly, but they can also be used to prevent problems from developing and can directly increase the base line health of your plants. If you’re planning on eating anything from your plants then you’ll also see an improvement in flavor. $30/person – limit 10 – and includes enough foliar support for you to spray a gallon when you get home. 7/29 Native Plants and Re-wilding, 1-2:30pm: There is HUGE interest in native plants, but it’s a bit more com- plicated than planting a few native plants in the vegetable garden. This is a chance to explore this complex topic, learn what some of the plants look like and see how you might add them to your garden designs. $30/person – limit 10 – and includes a native perennial for you to take home. Here’s the tentative list for August: 8/5 Raw and Whole Foods for Dogs and Cats, 8/12 Using Herbs to Support Pets and Livestock and 8/26 Understanding and Using Cover Crops. Confirmation will be in the next newsletter.

Looking forward to seeing you at the store!

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